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John gets up later than his wife does because his work day starts later than his wife's. His wife always cooks him breakfast before leaving for work. This time she's cooked him some mashed potato and meat. She also wants to make him an omelet, but she realizes that she doesn't have time for that, so she starts getting ready for work. She puts her clothes on and before leaving for work she opens the door to their room and says to him:

John, I've cooked you some mashed potato and meat. I didn't make you an omelet because I'm running late for work. I'm leaving now.

Would it be correct to use the present perfect "have cooked" in this case and then follow it with the simple past "didn't make" as I have done?

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    Heh, I thought from the title the question was going to be about "mashed potato" vs "mashed potatoes." (Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew...) Feb 6 at 15:58
  • There's a lot of setup for the example here, but not a lot of details about why you're concerned with these tenses. Yes, they're good. But please edit to tell more about why you have doubts, and you'll have more valuable answers. Feb 6 at 15:59
  • For levity's sake, the real question is Can you do the mashed potato? youtube.com/watch?v=S082-2jsRDY
    – Lambie
    Feb 6 at 17:24
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    "I've cooked/made you meat and mashed potatoes, but I've not had time to make the omelette." (Strange breakfast menu!) Feb 6 at 18:39
  • You have two sentences that say different things. Even in one sentence, you could say you have done this, did not do that, and will correct it all immediately. Feb 6 at 19:21

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Sample sentence: John, I've cooked you some mashed potatoes and meat. I didn't make you an omelet because I'm running late for work. I'm leaving now.

Much more usual: John, I've made you some mashed potatoes and meat. I didn't make you an omelet because I'm running late for work. I'm leaving now.

We make food for people in English. Sometimes, we use cook but not in sentences like the previous ones.

John: Mary, what have you made for me? Did you cook (or make) any vegetables? BUT: John: My wife always cooks for me.

Yes, have made, the present perfect, is fine, followed by didn't make. Why? Because you want to signal the past without being specific about the past. As in: I made you mashed potatoes [yesterday or half an hour ago].

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  • Maybe present perfect is also a good choice for the potatoes because they have some present relevance. Here they are, holding warm! The omelet, sadly, has no relevance to the present. (Now I want an omelet...) Feb 6 at 16:03
  • I'm used to eating something called an omelette. You crazy Yanks with your funny spellings! Feb 6 at 16:15
  • @MichaelHarvey Yeah, I'm less French than you. Whew!
    – Lambie
    Feb 6 at 17:03
  • @Lambie - I'm nearer Voltaire and you're nearer to Harold Robbins. Is that what you meant? Feb 9 at 14:04

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